diabetic retinopathy
If you live with diabetes and have experienced severe vision loss, you may have what is called diabetic retinopathy. This type of eye disease occurs when there is damage to small blood vessels in the retina, causing new cases of blindness for adults who have diabetes. However, with an early diagnosis at Graf Medical Eye Care, our optometric physician can slow the loss of vision or completely prevent it. Read about the different stages below to learn more about diabetic retinopathy in St. George, Utah, and give us a call at 435-634-0420 to schedule a consultation with our eye doctor, Dr. Jeffery Graf OD FAAO.


Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy

Mild Nonproliferative Retinopathy — This is the earliest stage where we check to see if there is hemorrhage and microaneurysms present in the retina. Microaneurysms can cause tiny blood vessels in the retina to swell, leaving the vessel wall weak. The good news is this stage can be left without treatment unless your case progresses.

Moderate Nonproliferative Retinopathy — The second stage is slightly more severe due to the high chance of blockage in some of your red blood vessels. Having this blockage develop can cause a lower supply of nutrients and flow of oxygen to certain areas of the retina.

Severe Nonproliferative Retinopathy — The next stage involves a higher number of blood vessel blockages, leaving the retina with hardly any oxygen or nourishment. This can eventually lead to retinal ischemia, or a complete lack of oxygen supply. With the amazing functionality of our bodies, however, the retina can compensate for oxygen deficiency by sending signals to the body to help produce new blood vessels and restore proper supply of oxygen.

Proliferative Retinopathy — The last stage has the highest risk level for vision loss. In this stage, with a lack of oxygen, the retina will grow back abnormal blood vessels instead of new ones to compensate for lower circulation. This process is referred to as retinal neovascularization, and it can cause fragile new blood vessels to break apart and hemorrhage throughout the eye. If left untreated, this can lead to bleeding in the vitreous and retinal detachment, causing major loss of vision.

diabetic eye disease

We treat this stage with special medications injected into the back of the eye and other treatments specific to your unique eye needs. To help stop the progression of this disease, we encourage you be treated as quickly as possible.

Diabetic Macular Edema

Here at our office, we can also diagnose diabetic macular edema. This is where the weaking inner lining of the blood vessels start to leak, causing them to swell. The most effective way to treat diabetic macular edema is to come in for a dilated examination in conjunction with a CIRRUS® OCT macular scan. From there, we can start the healing process by injecting anti-VEFG medication that is completely safe to use.

To learn more about our medical eye care treatment options for diabetic eye disease or to talk with our team, feel free to call our office. We happily treat patients from St. George and Garfield County, Utah, and Ely and Lincoln City, Nevada.